Newlywed couple found murdered and dumped in woods in Houston 40 years ago are finally identified

A newlywed couple who were found murdered and dumped in the woods in Houston 40 years ago have finally been identified.  

Harold Dean Clouse, 21, and Tina Gail Clouse, 17, were found in dead in a wooded area in Houston, Texas, on January 12, 1981 but at the time, police could not establish the identities of the bodies.

Family history detectives have now launched a search for the Clouses’s missing daughter Holly Marie, who was one when they disappeared, in the hope that she is still alive.  

The Clouses, who married in 1979, disappeared in late 1980 after leaving their home in Volusia County, Florida, for Texas so Harold could pursue work as a carpenter.

The couple’s car was returned to their family after they disappeared, and relatives were led to believe the newlyweds had joined a religious cult and no longer wanted to be contacted. 

Their bodies were found by dogs two months later off Wallisville Road, Houston. Harold had been beaten, bound and gagged, while Tina had been strangled, but remains of their infant daughter were not found at the site. She would now be 41 if she is still alive.

No arrests have ever been made in the case.  

Harold Dean Clouse, 21, and Tina Gail (Linn) Clouse, 17, (pictured together with their one-year-old daughter Holly Marie) were found in dead in a wooded area in Houston, Texas, in January 1981 – at the time, their identities were unknown

Family history detectives have now launched a search for the Clouse's missing daughter Holly Marie, (pictured) who would now be 41, in the hope that she is still alive

Family history detectives have now launched a search for the Clouse’s missing daughter Holly Marie, (pictured) who would now be 41, in the hope that she is still alive

Harris County’s forensic artist Mary Mize at the time drew pastel reconstructions of the couple after their bodies were found, but nobody was able to identify the pair because they had only recently moved to Houston.  

The Clouses’s bodies had been exhumed in July 2011 to check if the pair were related.

But a major break came in the 40-year-old case in 2021, when forensic scientists Misty Gillis and Allison Peacock were contacted by Indentifinders International and handed the baffling puzzle. 

The team inserted new information in GEDmatch.com, according to KHOU-11, and were able to match the Harold Clouse’s DNA with his cousins in Kentucky.     

‘It really only took hours to get a really good glimpse of who these people were,’ Peacock said.

She then got in touch with the Clouse’s sister Debbie Brooks and asked if a family relative had disappeared a long time ago.

Harold

Tina

Harris County’s forensic artist Mary Mize in January 1981 drew pastel reconstructions of Harold (left, in his youth) and Tina (right, in her youth) Clouse after their bodies were found, but nobody was able to identify the pair because they had only recently moved to Houston

Brooks said: ‘[Peacock] said, “We found him. He was murdered.” I asked how he was murdered, but she didn’t tell me at the time. But she said, “They found his body in January 1981.”‘ 

The family were able to tell Peacock and Gillis that Harold Clouse was married, leading to the identification of the second body, his wife Tina Clouse.  

Brooks then asked the team if they had found the baby, but the scientists were not aware Holly Marie, who was last seen in Lewisville, Texas, existed. The discrepancy has sparked a renewed search for the child, who, if alive, is unlikely to know her true parentage. 

‘Finding Hollie is the last puzzle piece, the last piece of my brother and Tina. It means everything to us to find her,’ Brooks told US Today. 

Harold’s mother Donna Casasanta said: ‘I will never forget my son and his Tina, I went years in pain wondering where they were. Now I can only keep praying God lets me see my granddaughter one day.’

Gillis said: ‘I’m very thankful to have been given the opportunity to work on this case. It was a difficult case emotionally.’  

Dr. Colleen Fitzpatrick, President of Identifinders International said: ‘We are pleased the Forensic Science Institute placed its confidence in us and we could bring closure to the Clouse and Linn families. We thank audiochuck for their generous support in funding the work on this case.’

Scientists did not find Holly Marie's (pictured) body with her parents, sparking a renewed search for the Clouse's daughter, who was last seen in Lewisville, Texas

Scientists did not find Holly Marie’s (pictured) body with her parents, sparking a renewed search for the Clouse’s daughter, who was last seen in Lewisville, Texas

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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